Tropical Downpours
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia, 2009-01-13 12:00 by Martin
Uhh, it has been raining a lot these last couple of days, so much that the swimming pool at our guesthouse ran over its edge and upon coming home from dinner one night; we had to walk through ankle deep water coming down the driveway to our hotel. It is not just raining cats and dogs; it is at least raining cows, maybe even elephants :-)

The day after a particularly heavy nightly rainstorm, we were driving Laerke to school on our scoter – it had stopped raining thankfully, but the roads were still quite wet – and we were to learn just how wet they were. We drove through some pretty deep pools, but one took the cake. The road was literally no more – it was converted into a lake. Well let’s just say that even the Balinese were turning back, only a few braved going through the water masses – we took the chance as well. Lifting our feet high and giving full throttle we began our sailing - the bike fought a brave fight, but we got pretty concerned when the water reached at least 20 cm and our speed decreased more and more, but still we kept going! Success, we made it through, with feet almost dry and motorcycle still running – others were not quite as lucky!

The other night we went to have dinner and drove down the main road to the chosen restaurant; coming back we and the other driving on the road were stopped and forced to take a detour through a small alley and round the block by a guy standing in the middle of the road. We asked him what was going on and why we had to detour. “Because of this problem…” he answered pointing down the main road. We quickly understood what he was talking about; a giant tree had fallen on the road, blocking it completely. No one had gotten hurt luckily! As it was evening the traffic wasn’t bad and luckily the rain had stopped a couple of hours before. So after parking our scooter we went to join the gathering crowd to watch what was going on. Groups of Balinese and tourist were chatting, joking and laughing, enjoying the evening event. We met a sweet Dutch/Indonesian family from our guesthouse, and Laerke got to practice her Indonesian with the Indonesian mother and the youngest kid. There was a great feeling of carnival in the air, and I think everyone was wondering if the tree would ever be removed. There’s no real government organization to take care of such things I think, especially not one that is working at night, but the Balinese knew that, and slowly men and children gathered picking up loose branches and moving them to the footpath. About 15 minutes later a couple of locals arrived on their bikes with small chainsaws in hand. Things were set in motion, the chainsaws fired up and cutting, sawing and lifting begun. Everyone was in great spirits; the men feeling important and manly, women laughing on the side cracking jokes, and the children scrambling to get hold of the branches that were cut off, so that they could be the one to carry the most. It was amazing to see how much could be achieved with these “simple” tools. We were still wondering though, if their small chainsaws could manage to cut through the thick main trunk, when we left the scene a while later.
The next morning we were a bit surprised to see the entire tree had been cut up in nice pieces and was lying by the side of the road. Having dropped Laerke off in Denpasar, I returned to Sanur and again were surprised; this time someone had summoned a little truck, and men were loading the big pieces of trunk into it by hand. A couple of hours later, only loose leaves were evidence to witness the evening’s big event.